Save the Date: Do the Options Markets Have Apple’s (AAPL) Earnings Date Wrong?

by CC April 2, 2012 2:22 pm • Commentary

AAPL is expected to release their Q2 results in late April. There isn’t a specific date given yet but the options market’s skew seems to be pointing towards a release during the last week of April, after the options in April expire, when the May options become front month. This may not be right. Or it could be. It’s hard to tell.

First, let’s look at the skew in options between months:

AAPL monthly vol skew from LiveVol Pro

The green line is May options, the most expensive month vol wise,  the yellow line near the bottom is April regular expiration, the cheapest regular expiration options . The yellow options expire on April 20th.

Even if the options market was pricing in earnings during April expiration it would still be possible that the front month has been creamed alongside volatility in general, but the fact May is so much higher makes me doubt this. Clearly people are buying May options hoping to catch earnings.

But what has Apple done in the past as far as their Q2 release date. Here are those dates courtesy of Apple’s website:

You’ll notice the past two years’ Q2 releases have fallen on April 20th. However, in ’09 the release was April 22nd. You’ll also notice alot of 18ths and 19th releases in other quarters.

One additional bit of information could mean that the options market is correct and the release will in fact fall after April expiration. And that is the fact that the past three Q2 earnings have all fallen after April expiration, even the ones that were on April 20th. Does Apple take expiration into account? Not sure, but I doubt it.

Let’s keep an eye on this. If there’s a chance that the options market has this wrong there could be an opportunity to scoop earnings month vol at bargain basement prices. Additionally, May could be sold to offset it, creating an arb opportunity. The chance is small that the markets have it wrong, but anything is possible.

Let’s crowdsource this a little bit. I’ll leave the comments section open on this post. If you’ve seen articles from trusted sources that are confident about a date, put the link into the comments section below and write what date the article thinks the release will be in your comment.

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